U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 10-year low in 2016

Jan. 12, 2017 – ATTOM Data Solutions' Year-End 2016 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report found that foreclosure filings were reported on 933,045 U.S. properties in 2016, down 14 percent from 2015 to the lowest level since 2006, when there were 717,522 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings. Foreclosure filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

The report also shows that 0.70 percent of all U.S. housing units had at least one foreclosure filing in 2016, the lowest annual foreclosure rate nationwide since 2006, when 0.58 percent of housing units had at least one foreclosure filing.

ATTOM's year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting.

The report also includes new data for December, when there were 85,919 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, down 1 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from a year ago – the 15th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

"The national foreclosure rate stayed within an historically normal range for the third consecutive year in 2016, even as banks continued to clear out legacy foreclosures from the last housing bubble, particularly in the final quarter of the year," said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. "Foreclosures completed in the fourth quarter had been in the foreclosure process 803 days on average, a substantial jump from the third quarter and indicating that banks pushed through significant numbers of legacy foreclosures during the quarter.

"Despite that push, we still show that more than half of all active foreclosures nationwide are on loans originated between 2004 and 2008, with a much higher share of legacy foreclosures in some markets."

Biggest backlogs of legacy foreclosures in New Jersey, New York, Florida
Nationwide, 55 percent of all loans actively in foreclosure as of the end of 2016 were originated between 2004 and 2008. The District of Columbia had the highest share of legacy foreclosures with 76 percent, followed by Hawaii (66 percent), New Jersey (64 percent), Nevada (63 percent), Delaware (61 percent), and Massachusetts (61 percent).

In terms of total number of legacy foreclosures, New Jersey led the way with 32,279, followed by New York (31,838), Florida (29,411), California (17,208), and Illinois (12,244).

Among counties, those with the highest total number of legacy foreclosures were Nassau County (Long Island), New York (8,632 representing 74 percent of all loans actively in foreclosure); Cook County (Chicago), Illinois (7,357 representing 53 percent); Kings County (Brooklyn), New York (6,207 representing 68 percent); Miami-Dade County, Florida (5,262 representing 64 percent); and Los Angeles County, California (4,956 representing 64 percent).

Foreclosure starts at new record low nationwide, but increase in 15 states
A total of 478,857 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in 2016, down 16 percent from 2015 and down 78 percent from the peak of 2,139,005 foreclosure starts in 2009 to the lowest level since ATTOM began tracking foreclosure starts in 2006.

Counter to the national trend, 15 states and the District of Columbia posted a year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts in 2016, including Delaware (up 37 percent); Connecticut (up 35 percent); Maine (up 30 percent); Rhode Island (up 26 percent); Arizona (up 15 percent); and Massachusetts (up 12 percent).

Bank repossessions drop to 10-year low, but increase in 21 states
A total of 379,437 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders (REO) in 2016, down 16 percent from 2015 and down 64 percent from the peak of 1,050,500 REOs in 2010 to the lowest level since 2006.

Counter to the national trend, 21 states and the District of Columbia posted a year-over-year increase in REOs in 2016, including Massachusetts (up 61 percent); Alabama (up 32 percent); New York (up 21 percent); Virginia (up 9 percent); and New Jersey (up 4 percent).

New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland post top state foreclosure rates in 2016
States with the highest foreclosure rates in 2016 were New Jersey (1.86 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (1.51 percent); Maryland (1.37 percent); Florida (1.18 percent); and Illinois (1.10 percent).

Other states posting foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest in 2016 were Nevada (1.09 percent); South Carolina (0.92 percent); Connecticut (0.91 percent); Ohio (0.89 percent); and New Mexico (0.78 percent).

Atlantic City, Trenton, Rockford post top metro foreclosure rates in 2016
Among 216 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rate in 2016 were Atlantic City, New Jersey (3.39 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Trenton, New Jersey (2.16 percent); Rockford, Illinois (1.54 percent); Philadelphia (1.53 percent); and Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida (1.46 percent).

Other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 highest nationwide in 2016 were Baltimore, Maryland (1.45 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida (1.38 percent); Chicago (1.35 percent); Columbia, South Carolina (1.32 percent); and Miami (1.30 percent).

Average time to foreclose jumps to new record high
U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter of 2016 had been in the foreclosure process an average of 803 days, a 29 percent jump from the previous quarter and a 27 percent increase from a year ago to the longest since ATTOM began tracking average foreclosure timelines in Q1 2007.

There were eight states where the average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter was more than 1,000 days: Utah (1,403); New Jersey (1,383); New York (1,283); Hawaii (1,220); Florida (1,186); Indiana (1,033); Illinois (1,024); and Pennsylvania (1,010).

States with the shortest average time to foreclose for properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter of 2016 were Virginia (223 days); Michigan (355 days); Oregon (362 days); Alabama (363 days); and Colorado (381 days).

ATTOM's year-end foreclosure report is a count of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting.

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